Trustee Emeritus Edward A. “Ned” Jesser ’39 died Monday, Aug. 20, 2007.
Jesser maintained very close ties to Lafayette throughout his life. A few weeks before his death, he attended a reception hosted by the North Jersey Alumni Chapter in honor of students entering the Class of 2011. He gave an extemporaneous speech in which he reflected on his service to Lafayette and called on younger generations to take up the torch.
A former chairman and chief executive officer of Summit Bank, Jesser served as a Lafayette trustee for 18 years. He chaired three committees of the board: financial policy, education policy, and athletics and student affairs. He also chaired both Lafayette’s Alumni Council and Maroon Club, and served as an alumni admissions representative.
In 2001, 60 years after Jesser proposed to his wife, Ruth, under a tree outside South College, Lafayette honored the couple for their long support of the College by naming the renovated west wing of the residence hall Jesser Hall.
In 1999 he received the Lafayette Medal for distinguished volunteer service, the highest honor Lafayette bestows upon a volunteer.
In 1993 the Jessers were inducted into the Soci�t� d’Honneur, which recognizes the College’s leading benefactors. He and Ruth were 25+ year members of the Marquis Society.
The Alumni Association honored Jesser with its two most prestigious awards, the George Washington Kidd Class of 1836 Award in recognition of his professional achievements in the field of banking and the Joseph E. Bell ’29 Alumni Distinguished Service Award.
He was the inaugural recipient in 2006-07 of the Friend of the Year Award presented by the Maroon Club’s Friends of Lafayette Football, which honors someone who has displayed an inordinate amount of support and passion for Lafayette football.
He served as marshal of the trustees during the academic procession at the College’s annual commencement exercises several times in recent years.
As an undergraduate, Jesser participated in track, ROTC, 150-pound football, and the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. In World War II he served as captain in the U.S. Army infantry before being promoted to major and assisting the effort to rebuild towns in Belgium and France after D-Day. Narrowly escaping capture in the Battle of the Bulge, Jesser was decorated with the Bronze Star and received the Croix de Guerre and the Couronne de Chenne from the Luxembourg government.
Jesser is survived by his wife and three children, including Edward A. “Chip” Jesser III ’68. He presented the diploma to his granddaughter, Brittany Hayes Jesser ’07, at the 172nd Commencement last May.
There will be a viewing from 1-2:15 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28, at C.C. Van Emburgh Funeral Home, 306 E. Ridgewood Ave., Ridgewood, NJ; (201) 445-0344. The funeral service will take place at 3 p.m. in the chapel at Cedar Crest Village, 1 Cedar Crest Village Dr., Pompton Plains, N.J.; (973) 839-9377. A reception will follow at 4 p.m. The burial will be private.